"I'll Most Likely Kill You in the Morning..."
Stay with me here, I do have a point to make.
I love mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting. The Ultimate Fighting Championship, K-1, and Pancrase are my favorites of the many events and organizations that put on these fights. I'm not going to get into the arguments for or against this type of sport, but I do have something to say about the perception of it.
When I watch the events with other people, there is invariably someone there who hasn't seen one before or is new to it. Usually these people have seen street fights or bar brawls, maybe the occasional boxing match and they have their opinions of what a fight should look like. Nine times out of ten, these folks leave slightly disappointed with the grappling aspect because they don't understand it; they don't get that someone can win a fight when the loser looks completely unscathed.
Apart from that, there's always comments about how can the fighters shake hands before the fight, then try to knock each other out, then hug and congratulate each other afterwards, likely going for a beer or something. "How can they do that?!" is always uttered along with, "How can they get punched in the face and not get mad?!"
I'll answer that right here (and this is coming from a guy who's been punched in the face more times that I'd like to admit): it's not personal. It's a job to them. You go to work and shuffle papers all day, these people go and work out to get in shape so they can make another guy unconscious. That's it. It's nothing personal (with obvious rare exceptions).
The analogy I want to draw here with arguments, particularily with respect to religion, is that I can criticise your position and what you believe without getting personal. I can demolish your most cherished religious holdings deep within your heart and still have respect for you as a person. It's not a personal thing that I or many other non-religous people have against church/religous people. We just think what you believe is stupid and unsupported by any evidence whatsoever and we're not going to tip-toe around it. You're full of shit, but we will still buy you a beer to chat about it.
All you have to do it let us and be open, and that's where the problem comes in a lot of the time. You won't let us. Yeah, we can be jerks and we'll probably call you names, but isn't that better than punching you in the face? I think so. Plus we usually don't mean any harm with the name-calling anyway - it's just our juvenile way of trying to be clever.
So there is a difference between attacking you personally and us doing what we think is right. Your position is not "sacred" any more than ours is, so don't expect us to back down anytime soon and don't expect us to be polite - but we promise we won't try to kill you.